Shipwrecks and Snake Bites

Text:  Acts 27-28

Scripture Reading: 

Paul on the Island of Malta

28 When we were safe on land, we learned that the island was called Malta. 2 It was raining and very cold. But the people who lived there were very good to us. They made us a fire and welcomed all of us. 3 Paul gathered a pile of sticks for the fire. He was putting them on the fire when a poisonous snake came out because of the heat and bit him on the hand. 4 The people living on the island saw the snake hanging from Paul’s hand. They said to each other, “This man must be a murderer! He did not die in the sea, but Justice[a] does not want him to live.” 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire. He was not hurt. 6 The people thought that Paul would swell up or fall down dead. The people waited and watched him for a long time, but nothing bad happened to him. So they changed their minds about Paul.


Paul had been traveling around telling people about Jesus when he was put in prison for preaching something different from what the local leaders wanted. As a prisoner, Paul was loaded into a boat to go to Rome to be sentenced in front of Caesar. During the trip, the ship encountered a hurricane and was shipwrecked at an island near Malta. Once rescued, Paul had a poisonous snake bite him.

I love the story because even though the people on the island were dealing with a hurricane they welcomed a shipload of prisoners and took care of them. The story also makes me think of all of the church school kids who love snakes and catch them. 


Dear God, thank you for kind people who look out for others, even when everything is going wrong. Amen.

Focus for the Day: Hospitality In Bad Times

Author: Rachel Dudley, Director of Children’s Ministry